I picked up Peruvian Lilies at the grocer yesterday. (Alstroemeria, if you want to be fancy and use Latin.)
Rain poured from low, dark clouds as I loaded my trunk with all sorts of pantry items. (May we never forget the blessing of being able to pop in and grab whatever we need to line our kitchens and fill our plates. I complain about this task. Why? Children are starving and I’m whining about walking aisles. Nonsense.)
After returning my cart (because you should ALWAYS return your cart) I hopped into my car out of the downpour and looked over to notice that my flowers had caught a few rain drops. Right there, on the buds and petals, were little balls of beaded up liquid.
And they were beautiful. I grabbed my phone and snapped a few pictures and let my mind wonder to words as I drove home.
Be like the flower that beads water, Kate. Rather than let EVERYTHING penetrate, ball up what isn’t helpful or useful and repel it.
Ducks do it. Their feathers fend off water thanks to an oil producing gland located close to their sweet little tail feathers.
But what’s interesting about this, is how the oil gets onto the feathers so that it can do its job warding off water.
Does it naturally spread across the body of the duck?
Are they just born with the oil dispersed all over their bodies?
Do ducks help each other lather up in oil like humans help each other lather on sunscreen?
No, no, and no.
Each duck has to preen and spread and saturate their own selves with the oil that will act as a barrier to what could be bad for their lives.
They do this with their beaks. And they do it often.
Impressive. And worth mimicking.
I’ve shared before that I’m somewhat sensitive. For years I shamed myself for it.
But I’ve come to understand that sensitive doesn’t mean weak. It also doesn’t mean that I have to let everything said about me, to me, in front of me – drill through to my core and undo me from the inside out.
I was told a few years ago by a praying lady that the sensitivity was given, and that it’s a good thing. I’ve embraced it ever since. And I’ve come to know that artists, of all mediums and genres, need to be this way. (I wrote on the topic here, if you want more on that.)
But letting detrimental and injurious words and thoughts bore through to my entire being – will only bear bad fruit.
We must feel. But at the same time we must accept what’s helpful (even if it’s hard) and refuse what isn’t (no matter how often it presents itself).
Look at that – feathers and flowers – teaching us how to be. Telling us to learn the truth about ourselves so that we can welcome what’s true and reject what isn’t and live more whole, influential, steady, sweet, rounded-out lives.
Lord, lead us in this. Enable us in this. Help us to be gatekeepers. Help us to be sensitive enough to feel and produce fruit, but strong enough to resist what we were never intended to inhabit. Yes and amen.